In every moment, you are free to choose to discover new avenues to joy. Abraham-Hicks
I believe in joy. I believe that deep inside of us there is a bubbling, overflowing, rapturous wellspring of joy, and that it is up to each of us, if we so choose, to find our connection with this energy, again and again and again. I do this in yoga, session after session, week after week, year after year. For eleven years now, I have taught yoga, and I still am amazed that it doesn’t matter how uptight or frazzled or unfocused or angry I am, the moment I place myself on that mat, the moment I settle in, close my eyes, I find my breath, my body, that route to my roots, to that wellspring of all-is-well-ness and joy. Every time. I really do.
This experience on the mat, gives me the confidence, the knowing that I can find it off the mat as well, that no matter what circumstances are surrounding me, no matter what someone else is feeling, no matter what I am feeling, I can, in any moment, choose, if I so desire, to discover a new avenue to joy.
And that is what happened to me four years ago. On a sweltering June afternoon, I found myself in a funk. I was feeling stuck. It wasn’t enough anymore to teach yoga part-time in my lovely studio in the basement of my husband’s dental office. I needed to spread my wings, to find that something new. And so, in the ninety-degree heat, in the heat of the moment, I took action. I looked down at my cat, my fluffy white cat who loves to play and is good at connecting to her inner joy, and I said to her, “I am free to choose to discover new avenues to joy!” Despite my funk, despite the heat, I said it over and over. I said it as I chased her around the house, as she hid behind furniture, as she leaped up into the air. And I as said it, as I shouted it, I began to feel better, and somewhere in the midst of that five minutes of cat-play and mantra-shouting, it came to me, a dream that I didn’t know I’d been dreaming for a very long time, it came to me in a flash. I knew what I wanted to do. Suddenly, I remembered that we had a piece of property, wooded and enchanted, behind our house but open to another road for access, land that we never even thought about. In that moment I knew that I was going to build a studio, my own yoga/creativity studio, a place where I would teach yoga and writing workshops, and tell my stories. It came to me clear and whole and holy, just like that.
Little did I know, however, that a brainstorm on a sweltering June afternoon would grow so quickly into a glorious adorable New-England style cottage, that I would call it Joy Center, that it would be home for the whole community, a thriving living center with workshops and open mic nights and Sunday evening concerts and retreats, that four years after that initial flash of inspiration, it would be a beacon beckoning us all to play, a friendly reminder that there is always always a new avenue of joy for us to discover. Little did I know that four years later, I’d be musing with all of you, from the Joy Center.